Area burned in 2023 in the Algarve was much lower «than expected»

The area burned by ignition fires in the Algarve was less than half that of 2022

Odeceixe after the August fire – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

A “very positive” year, in which the burned area was “considerably lower than expected, given the meteorological severity”, is the assessment of the performance of the 2023 Special Device to Fight Rural Fires, which was made this Wednesday, November 15th, in Faro, by Vítor Vaz Pinto.

The Algarve regional commander of the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority (ANEPC) presented the main figures for a year marked by «a very hot winter, an extremely hot and dry spring and an extremely hot summer», which were well below forecasts , which pointed to the possibility of a burned area “around 17,8 thousand hectares”.

However, «the area that actually burned in the Algarve represents only 16% of that value, standing at 2,7 thousand hectares».

Another piece of information presented at the session was a reduction in the burned area by 62%, compared to last year, in terms of fires that broke out in the region. Still, 2023 was far from being a peaceful year, in year-on-year terms, taking into account that the number of fires “increased 28% compared to 2022”, he revealed.


Vítor Vaz Pinto – Photo: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação


Breaking down the numbers provided by the regional commander, between January 1 and October 31, 2023, 556 incidents were recorded, of which 269 were “fires whose ignition originated in the region and which resulted in a burned area of ​​789,77 hectares”.

Of these 269 fires, 259 were controlled in the initial attack, that is, in less than 90 minutes.

The other ten fires that started in the Algarve, which took more than an hour and a half to put out, were responsible for 95% of these 789 hectares consumed by the flames.

If we add to these fires the great fire of August, which broke out in Odemira, in Alentejo, but spread to Aljezur and Monchique, the numbers rise considerably, to 2,7 thousand hectares consumed by the flames, in the Algarve, since the beginning of the year.

During its passage through the Algarve region, this fire mainly affected Odeceixe, in the municipality of Aljezur, where moments of distress were experienced and burned 1635 hectares, but also reached Monchique, where a burned area of ​​363 hectares was recorded.

By municipality, the one where the fire caused the most damage was, by far, Aljezur, which in addition to being affected by the Odemira fire, also saw two other fires break out, both in the Bordeira area, In August e in October. In total, in this municipality, an area of ​​1924 hectares burned.


Photo: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação


The other municipalities most affected by fires in the Algarve were Monchique, with 412 hectares burned (363 of which in the Odemira fire) and Castro Marim, with 331 hectares, thanks to the fire that in May consumed a vast area in Azinhal.

Comparing data from 2023 with the average from the last decade, there was “a 16% decrease in the number of fires and a 44% decrease in the burned area”.

«I also want to highlight that there were zero victims, both at the level of operatives and the population. And these data include fires and fires», said Vítor Vaz Pinto.

These numbers were possible thanks to “the efforts of all civil protection agents and forces that make up the device, who managed, with their effort, to face a particularly demanding year from a meteorological point of view and also from the point of view of ignitions », concluded Vítor Vaz Pinto, who argues that the device currently in service in the Algarve «is one of the best in the world».



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